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The Aid Structure

Cleft Africa currently is active to varying degrees in five East African countries, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. Cleft Africa is a cooperation of African and European NGOs and individuals. The common goal is to provide the best possible treatment to Africans suffering from cleft. Since several different medical specialists have to work together over several years to get the best result for a child with cleft, Cleft Africa works to train local medical personnel so that all necessary treatments will always be available to African patients.

So far, this has been very successful, with the teaching hospital of the University of Mbarara in southern Uganda now sending doctors on surgical missions to Tanzania and supporting DCKH's doctors on their missions, most recently to Rwanda. DCKH raises donations to fund the activities, spreads medical training and knowledge to the local partners, and checks the quality of the operations and the use of the donations through a patient database and procedure documentation system.


In both 2017 and 2018, the DCKH-trained Rwandan surgeon Dr. Laurent Sibourema led surgical missions to Rulenge in Northwestern Tanzania, alongside the experienced Ugandan anaesthesist Dr. Emmanuel Munyarugero. As the first solely local-partner-organized missions in the region, these missions mark an important milestone in the development of the local cleft treatment capabilities. Dr. Sibourema is working to further expand the activities.

DCKH finances a local project coordinator, Dr. Prosper Mallya, who locates untreated cleft patients for treatment and guides and supports the patients and their families throughout the treatment process. Additional valuable support is provided by bishop Severine Niwemugizi of the local Rulenge-Ngara diocese and DCKH volunteer medical project guides Dr Dr Oliver Blume and Gunther Au-Balbach.


Dr Laurent Sibourema of the university teaching hospital Kigali works with us as a surgeon and an organizer. Among other activities he has led a team on several surgical missions to Tanzania, and, most recently, a February 2019 mission alongside Dr Dr Oliver Blume und Gunther Au-Balbach to Gitwe, Rwanda, where 15 babies in desperate need of treatment received surgeries. He is working to establish projects in additional countries in the region. Further surgical missions in Rwanda are also in planning.


Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe and Somali Medical Care (Somcare) are currently in the opening stages of a cooperation to provide treatment to cleft patients in Somalia.


DCKH volunteer doctors and project leads Dr Dr Oliver Blume and Gunther Au-Balbach started working in Uganda more than 15 years ago. Since 2012 our partner, the teaching hospital of the University of Mbarara in southern Uganda, has been working as a self-contained cleft treatment center. It also serves as a contact point for patient inquiries and as the base for awareness building missions and the search for untreated cleft patients that do not know that their cleft can be treated.

Ugandan anaesthetist Dr. Emmanuel Munyarugero, surgeon Dr. Deus Twesigye, and intensive care nurse Caroline Nakyanzi participate in cleft surgery missions in East Africa. In 2017, when the political situation in Burundi made cleft treatment there impossible, five patients in especially urgent need of aid were brought to Mbarara for treatment with the help of Cleft Africa Burundian partner Fondation Stamm.


The Cleft Africa partners in Burundi are the Fondation Stamm, based in Bujumbura, and Burundikids e.V., based in Cologne. Our first surgical mission in Burundi took place in 2015. DCKH’s activities were carried out on a voluntary basis by German maxillofacial surgeons Dr Dr Oliver Blume and Gunther Au-Balbach. Alongside many other, non-cleft-related charitable activities, Fondation Stamm operates a hospital in Bujumbura, the Centre Médical Hippocrate (CMH).